Isanti Soil & Water Conservation District

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Isanti SWCD

Serving the residents and conserving our natural resources

The Mission of the Isanti Soil and Water Conservation District is to provide technical, financial and educational resources in order to implement practices and projects that preserve, protect and enhance water quality, soil, and other natural resources.
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Conservation Opportunity


In Barry Springborn’s front yard, prairie grasses and flowers buzz with pollinators. The driveway on this family farm outside Cambridge in Isanti County is lined with blooming partridge pea. Bumblebees feed on the yellow flowers. Song sparrows sing from the tall grasses swaying in the wind. Sandhill cranes fly overhead. Trumpeter swans appear on the far edge of Johnny’s Lake. The Springborn farm is perched above the small, shallow lake. Recently installed buffers will protect water quality and provide wildlife habitat.

Springborn raises beef cattle and corn. In 2017, he planted a buffer adjacent to Johnny’s Lake with a pollinator seed mix in accordance with Minnesota’s riparian buffer law.

“When the buffer strip requirement came along, at first I was confused. I had some conversations with staff from the Isanti Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD), and they helped me get in touch with students at Anoka-Ramsey Community College that were conducting a pollinator study. The college supplied the pollinator flower seed, and I contacted a private vendor to get a native grass mix that would work with the flower mix,” Springborn said.

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Riparian Protection

Rum River Habitat and Floodwater Protection

Do you love fishing the Rum River? Do you live along or near the Rum River south of Grandy? If you answered yes to either of these questions you will be interested and excited to learn about this project!

Construction is currently underway to restore flow to a one-mile segment of the Rum River that was abandoned due to a man-made diversion dug over 50 years ago. Due to increased rain events over the last 20 years, the diversion began causing a number of problems including the disconnection of the river from its floodplain (this can result in increased flooding to downstream communities) and widening of the river upstream (this can result in erosion of the streambanks and loss of fish habitat).

To resolve the problems, the Isanti Soil and Water Conservation District (ISWCD) secured a $250,000 grant from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment and funding from The Nature Conservancy to hire Minnesota Native Landscapes to fill the diversion and redirect flow into the abandoned river channel. The project is currently underway and is slated for completion late March 2019.

If you are interested in learning more about the project, or seeing the completed project, consider taking a canoe trip down the Rum River this summer (access the river from Co. Rd. 14). OR, contact Tiffany Determan, Isanti SWCD @ 763-689-3271

Great Opportunity

Farm Management & Water Quality

On December 12th, the Isanti SWCD hosted an informational meeting in partnership with Anoka-Ramsey Community College and MN Dept of Ag for local farmers and agricultural landowners to learn about the voluntary program designed to help protect Minnesota’s water by implementing and maintaining farm management practices. This program pairs well with Isanti SWCD’s other initiatives to protect water quality in shoreline and urban landscapes.

Participants in the program will receive:

  • Regulatory Certainty
  • Financial and technical assistance
  • Recognition: Stewardship Identification

Participating in the program is free and does not require an obligation from the landowner or operator.  If you would like to learn more, please contact Thomas Zimmermann, Conservation Technician at 763-689-3271 or

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Latest News

City of Isanti Named Outstanding Conservationist for 2018

We are proud of The City of Isanti for what they’ve done for conserving the natural resources in Isanti County,” said Wayne Calander, board chair of the Isanti Soil and Water Conservation District. “It’s great to be able to recognize the work that they have done locally” Calander said.

The relationship between the SWCD and Isanti began in 2011 following the completion of a Stormwater Retrofit Study that identified locations to cost effectively improve treatment of stormwater from portions of the City that discharge to the Rum River.  The results of the study led to a $120,000 Clean Water Fund grant to install the top-rated pollution reduction project—a Stormwater Outfall pond located on RR Ave.  The City provided the $38,750 match for the project via their Stormwater Utility fee.

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SWCD Recieved $251,000 to Protect Blue Lake!

The Isanti SWCD, in partnership with the Blue Lake Improvement District and Spencer Brook and Stanford Townships, has been selected to recieve over $250,000 to protect the health of Blue Lake! The grant, along with matching funds provided by its partners, will pay for the installation of cost-effective projects that will reduce the amount of nutrients draining into the lake. These nutrients are causing algae blooms and excessive plant growth.
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Isanti SWCD Calendar

2018 Annual Highlights

2018 was a busy year for Isanti SWCD. Click here to read all about our most recent Conservation programs and priorities. We would like to send out a special thank you to all our Federal,monitoring culvert sm State, and Local partners who support our mission to preserve, protect and enhance water quality, soil, and other natural resources in Isanti County. We’re already planning great things for 2019 including targeted agricultural outreach, lakeshore restorations on Green Lake, and conservation planning in the Lower St. Croix Watershed.

Rain Garden Information

Rain Garden Incentive Program - City of Isanti

The City of Isanti views rain gardens as a powerful tool to manage stormwater, as well as a great way to add aesthetic elements to residential lots. In order to encourage its residents to install rain gardens, the City of Isanti has the Residential Rain Garden Incentive Program. Program participants will be given tools for planning and implementing rain gardens on their property, and approved applicants will be reimbursed 50% of the cost, up to $500, for plants, soil, and other supplies to get the garden started.  Click here for more information.

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    Oak wilt, caused by the non-native fungus Ceratocystis fagacearum, is responsible for killing large numbers of oak trees annually in Minnesota. Oak Wilt is most severe in red oak group species such as Northern Red Oak and Northern Pin Oak. The Isanti County Parks Department has put together this brochure as a guide for managing Oak wilt: Oak Wilt in Isanti County To learn more and see good photos of diseased trees, you can also visit the U of M Residents can call the SWCD and the Isanti County Parks Department for names of contractors who can help with trees and root trenching on your property.
    The Isanti SWCD rents a seed drill suitable for planting native grasses and wildflowers. Cost is $12/acre. Rental must be within a 20 mile radius of the City of Isanti. Rental has a $150 minimum fee within Isanti County. Rental minimum outside of Isanti county is $250. A $150 damage deposit is required at the time of rental. For safety reasons, we ask that you don't drive over 20 mph while towing the seeder. Call Thomas or Todd at 763-689-3271 to schedule.
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    The Isanti SWCD can help you with conservation efforts on your property with guidance and financial assistance.We are here for your questions and to help.
    Enhance your property with trees that are especially suited to your property. Container, bare root and seedlings are all available through the Isanti SWCD. The Isanti SWCD tree sale is now open for all your landscaping and conservation needs.